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How to Read the Death Tarot Card

Learn how to read the Death tarot card from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello. I'm Ellen Goldberg, and I welcome you to this tarot moment from the School of. In this segment, we're gonna take a look at the death card. Sometimes people get frightened when they get this card, but they shouldn't. It's far less about physical death than it is about the kind of death that is necessary in order to make a great transformation. Because there is now transformation without letting go of something, and that's a kind of a death. The Hebrew letter associated with this card is nun, n-u-n. And nun means fish, as a noun. But as a verb, it means to sprout and to grow. So in all truth, this card could equally be called life as well as death.

There is an intimation here that there is life after death, a new card, life because, in the card, if you look on the bright side, you see the sun rising. Because cards have a North, a South, and East and a West. And always, what you see as the card faces you, on the right, is the East, just like the full sun is rising in the East. We see the sun rising, indicating two, a new life in between two towers. Those towers are called. They are the towers sacred to that used to appear as markers of the boundaries of the known, and a crossroads in the ancient world. We see them here in front of the son to show we are going beyond the boundaries of the known. The river that you see in the card represents the union of change and eternity. There's a Pharaoh's boat on the river. Death here is ruled by the sign of Scorpio. No surprise. It's on a white horse that represents spirit. And we see every sort of person he is coming to. There is an emperor or a King already lying on the ground in this step.

We see a Pope greeting him. Perhaps he has prepared himself for death. But there is also a young girl and a small boy. The little child greets death, openly, easily. And if you have ever had the misfortune to watch a child die, perhaps of some early illness. You see how easily they accept their fate. Often times, he's also the skeleton. It's our most precious and secret treasure. It is the most eternal part of us, and it's androgynous. Oh, yes. Experts know which hips are a little bigger and which are a little smaller, but basically, the skeleton is our most enduring part and our own secret treasure. Did you know that Shamans, the world over in training as a part of initiation, are told to experience death as a symbolic part of initiation. Sometimes they have to see their own skeleton, even by sometime scraping the skin down to the bone, because it's hidden from us, this enduring part.

The would be just a massive of a lump of tissue. This holds us up. When you see the death card in your reading, know that on it's upper polarity, it's not talking about death. It's talking about change, transformation, the movement from one state of being to the next. And there's always a process in transformation, disintegration, growth and progress. Then, of course when it reaches it's zenith, in whatever it is, it starts it's decline, and the cycle starts again. This cycle has been repeated since time and memorial. On the lower polarity, yes, it sometimes can mean death. But usually, it means involuntary change, change that you have not invoked, that's difficult, or a living death. Boredom. Fear of death poisons us, and it's worse than death itself. And there is a kind of stunting of life that comes by people who fear death so, that their afraid to live. To make friends with death is to be able to live more fully. Will the tarot talk about death? Well, occasionally, it absolutely will. But it won't just give you the death card alone, say reversed or. This is a Scorpio-ruled card, and that's a water sign. If there is fire cards on either side, it's gonna bring out the worst of it. Maybe even a living, mental death, like schizophrenia. But if it's to be physical death, I have found that it will bring together two or three cards that also talk about death. The tarot knows how to do this and all in the same readings. Sometimes it will just line them up. Some of those cards might surprise you. We can assume, death is. But also, the Ace of swords reversed when combined with death, the to of swords combined with death, and even the sun reversed, because the sun is so alive on it's upper polarity, that it's lower polarity goes very low. The greater the light, the greater the shadow. However, 99.9% of the time, this card is changed. On behalf of the School of Ar, I thank you for being with me. Bye for now.

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